South Whidbey boy runners open strong

"The Falcon boys cross country team got their season off to a great start last week, winning the NCC Jamboree and finishing a close second in the prestigious Edmonds Invitational on Saturday.Not that anyone was surprised. The Falcons are the number one 2A team in the state, according to the latest coaches' poll.On Thursday the boys traveled to Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon for a 1.5-mile race over a shorter version of the same course they will run for the league and district championships. No scores were kept, but the Falcons had five runners in the top 10, led by Braden Giswold and Bruce Hymas, who took first and second place respectively. Brett Perkins took 4th, Brandon Bilyeu was 7th, and Joe Candelario was 10th. Newcomer Andy Wills took 17th in his first ever cross country race, followed closely by Jasper Hein in 20th.Seven runners in the top 20 of a race that includes most of the runners in an eight team league is pretty good, said coach Tim Gordon.There were a total of 81 runners in the race.The Edmonds Invitational is a flight race, in which each team enters one runner in seven separate races, beginning with the team's seventh-ranked runner, and ending with the fastest heat with each team's fastest runner. The five best times are then tabulated, and the lowest team time wins. Thirty-four teams were entered. The Falcons had a runner in the top 10 of each heat, a first for South Whidbey. Jasper Hein began the day with a 9th place finish in the heat for the seventh fastest runners, and was followed by Andy Wills' 10th place finish in the 6th race. The five best times were turned in by Brandon Bilyeu (5th in the 5th race), Joe Candelario (6th in the 4th race), Bruce Hymas (who won the 3rd race), Brett Perkins (2nd in the 2nd race), and Braden Giswold (5th in the 1st race). Overall the team finished with a team time of 56:49, a mere three seconds behind the winners, Snohomish, who are ranked number five in the 4A classification. The Falcons finished only one second ahead of third place Eisenhower (No. 10 4A), so obviously, every second counted. Other fine races at Edmonds were turned in by Brandon Turner, freshman James Sundquist and Hart Boyd.The Falcons had a league meet in Sultan on Thursday vs. Lakewood and Granite Falls, followed by the big South Whidbey Invitational today, Sept. 16, beginning at 11 a.m.. South Whidbey will have about 20 schools here from all over the state and in all size classifications. "

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